Suppressing the Diversity of the ‘Other’: The nature, extent and impact of racism experienced by visible ethnic minority residents in rural southeast Scotland
2011-01-18T15:40:05Z (GMT) by
In recent years a growing body of academic research has identified the distinct phenomenon of rural racism. Despite this, the problem is largely unknown outside of academia and therefore those charged with a General Duty to promote effective race relations in the rural are often ‘blind’ to the problem. At the heart of the issue is the social and cultural conflation of notions of the rural as a problem free traditional ‘white landscape’ and the exercise of power and prejudice over those constructed as ‘other’. Whilst the Scottish Government has recognised the significant issue of racism in Scotland, the paucity of research means that little is known about the exact ‘nature’, ‘extent’ and ‘impact’ of the problem within specific rural localities. Accordingly, this research explores those key variables within five distinct rural areas of southeast Scotland and reveals how the process of ‘othering’ works to exclude and marginalise visible ethnic minorities by actively suppressing their diversity. The research methodology involved both qualitative and quantitative aspects and included a public attitudes survey questionnaire and focus groups with white residents, analysis of racial incidents reported to the police, a quality of life survey questionnaire and interviews with visible ethnic minorities who had been victims of racism. This analysis was conducted against an analytical framework provided by Philo’s (1992) ‘othering theory’. The research findings reveal a disturbing, complex and multi-dimensional landscape of endemic racism within rural southeast Scotland that has a profound impact on victims. In doing so, it also reveals and challenges the shifting lens of ‘agency’ and ‘state’ as the advocacy of multiculturalism so embraced after Macpherson has now apparently come to be seen as ‘yesterdays news’ through new post 7/7 state racisms which appear to reconstitute certain ethnic minority communities as a ‘problem’ that now requires to be ‘controlled’.